don-schindler-working-on-harley

Putting 14-inch ape hangers on my bike, Rosemary.

I was raised in a home full of mechanics.

My grandfather, Les, was a tractor mechanic for Massey-Ferguson for 20+ years as well as a full time farmer.

I used to think we were rich (quite the opposite in fact) when I was little because we had so many tractors, combines, cars and machinery on the farm.

Little did I know that grandpa actually had a standing offer on every broken down machine that came into the dealership – $15. It didn’t matter if it ran or not, grandpa knew it had parts on it that he could use. The farm machinery graveyard right behind grandpa’s house was my playground.

My dad and two uncles were also mechanics and there was a Schindler Auto Body shop on the farm as well.

In kindergarten, I knew the difference between a 9/16 socket, 5/8 wrench and a pair of vice grips. I drained oil and aired tires.  I sanded fenders. I sorted and matched leftover nuts and bolts. Every day I swept the shop to earn a Dr. Pepper bottle from the frig.

I also learned that mechanics fix things. That’s how you measure their value.

So to me, a marketing mechanic is different than a consultant.

Consultants can help you figure out the problem. Consultants can give you advice.

But if you want the problem really fixed, the consultant will tell you what mechanic to call but they aren’t going to get their hands dirty. They need to go consult on another job.

So you end up calling the mechanic and he comes out. He sometimes verifies that what the consultant said was correct (sometimes the consultants don’t get it right) and then fixes it. Right there, right then.

You thank him for his time and then you hold on to his number.  Why, because you’ll call him first next time – what do you need a consultant for.

Everyone knows that it’s hard to find a good mechanic. When people find one, they are loyal to that mechanic. It’s easy to find a consultant.

So you can call me a marketing consultant if you want to because the industry doesn’t use a term like marketing mechanic. But I’m more than just a consultant.

I ran across this post on five skills every auto mechanic should have.  I think it works brilliantly on why I would prefer to be called a marketing mechanic than consultant.

1. Diagnostic Abilities:
Mechanics understand that they need to pinpoint where the problem is. They don’t replace the entire engine – they use the right diagnostic tools to analyze the engine and replace only the part that is broken. Much like that, I’m not going to come in and have you replace all of your communications if just your email marketing is broken. Good mechanics diagnose quickly and get you back on the road to success.

2. An array of integrated skills
Here they talk about understanding the entire car such as the electrical system, fuel system and the air conditioning system. Same here with a marketing mechanic. You need to be able to understand how the marketing communications system is working internally (like the social media team process and the direct mail system process – how are they connected). But you also need to be able to see the entire organization’s culture – how is marketing communications integrating with operations? If the systems are broken, the tactics will fail.

3. The Ability to Stay Prepared
I love how they say “the days of the uneducated grease monkey are over.” How true this is with marketing communications today. The entire world of communications has been transformed by digital and social media. You need someone who is staying on top of the latest technologies and how they can help or hurt your current marketing efforts. Just read my blog and you’ll see what I’m currently looking into and working on.

4. The Ability to Teach Others
I was stunned when I read this because it’s exactly how I feel about mechanics – I just didn’t think that mechanics actually acknowledge that they need to excellent teachers. And good mechanics are great teachers. Great mechanics show others what they learned and why it’s important. I teach and train others all the time on marketing communications and you need someone who is not only going to fix the problem but also show you how they fixed it so you don’t make the same mistake in the future.

5. Career Longevity
I’m a career marketer – granted I didn’t go to school to be a marketer in the traditional fashion (I have an English degree not a marketing degree) but I’ve been fascinated by marketing and communications, reading and writing, creating content for as long as I can remember. This lifelong passion benefits you because I’ve had my fill of mistakes and I can show you exactly how I wouldn’t make them again (I loved Flash early in my career – ouch).

So if you are interested in learning more from a marketing mechanic, then give me a call or email.  But if you are interested in having a consultant tell you to call me to fix it, well I’m sure that can be arranged as well.

What do you think about the differences between a marketing mechanic and a marketing consultant?